Monday, February 28, 2011

Wellington and Horowhenua SJ and SH Championships

So this weekend I was at yet another show. I was there by myself though so not only was warming up interesting (A few times I went from a crossrail to a 1.15m fence depending on what was set up) but I don't have any photos. Sorry about that, I really wish I had some video because it was a good show.

Anyway the first class up was the 1.10m with Kate. We had a pretty good round and she was really not looky which was nice, because it proves that it was the oat chaff that was the issue. Had a tidy jump-off and was third in division 1. The class was 127 horses so they divide the class into two divisions. In either division I would have had the same placing based on my time. Well done Kate big pats for you.

The next class was Connie in her very first 1.20m class. I was very very very nervous and it was a reasonably sized track. I didn't have to worry though. I rode the best round of my life I think and gave her a fabulous ride and she just jumped super fabulous. Bold and confident, not over jumping but never even touching a rail. I had a clear round and went pretty quick in the jump-off to finish 6th in the second division. (98 horses in this class). I couldn't have been happier, I was so rapt.

Then Kate came out in the same class. There was deep pit on the landing side of the warm up fences and being alone I couldn't move them so I didn't get a very good warm-up. I jumped it once and we nearly fell on landing so that was it really. Now Kate and Connie are very different and I actually find it a little hard going from horse to horse. Connie is very laid back and quiet so I have to make the canter to get down the related lines. Then I get on Kate who can be a bit strong and who is quite forward and I always overestimate our canter. So in the five stride line to the double even though I had a good jump in I didn't make the distance because I sat up and held instead of just letting her canter down to the double. She stopped and I fell. So the day worked out as two ribbons and a fall.

The next day Kate was late entered into the 1.10m Championship class (Probably should have done the 1.20m but thats ok) She jumped really well and I didn't ride a good round in the jump-off and had a rail there. The Amateur was a fairly big track which is good. Connie jumped awesome, but after fence 2 I let my canter fall apart and circled off of fence three because I just didn't have the canter. On re-approach she jumped really well and apart from the four faults for the circle and a time fault she jumped clear. On Kate I made sure to ride more forward and consistently and to make all my related lines and despite having to ride up one of them, it was my best round on Kate, I just had just a rail. I am the master of four fault rounds in the amateur classes. Still as a show it was a good one. Next weekend it's Hawera for series finals and then 10days later it's Horse of the Year and then I get a break from Showjumping which I think I'm actually looking forward to a bit.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Bill Day Out

So Bill at the tender age of 6 and a half finally made it off the farm like a proper grown up broken in horse. No one can say I produce them too fast!! She loaded really well onto the truck and traveled to Teilcey Park. She arrived with massive sweat puddles under her and she was a little wild eyed but she had traveled really well and then quickly relaxed into standing in her yard and eating hay with her buddies Connie and Kate. She didn't even care when I took the others away one at a time to work them. Connie was more of a knob.

After I had worked the others, I worked Bill in the little 30x 20m lunging ring. I didn't want to work her in the big ring because it's huge spooky and the ground is hard! The lunging ring looked much softer. I lunged her for quite a while to let her shake of the nerves some. She was mostly upset by the sounds coming from the indoor arena and wanted to scoot away from them. I sucked it up and got on and had a walk and trot around for 10 minutes and pronounced it a successful first outing.

I did wonder if she would be naughty to ride after the stress of her first trip but she walked straight on which was awesome and though she arrived home in another sweaty mess, she again traveled well, so I was rapt with her.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Masterton A+P: A comedy of rider errors

Sometimes you just have a show where you don't get it together as a rider. This was definitely that show. The horses jumped really well though so it wasn't all bad. The first class was a 1.15m class in ring two. It was a pretty kind track but I arrived to late (I was working in the morning) to walk the course. Connie jumped pretty well just a lazy rail but I really stuffed up when I cantered straight past the third fence. Stupid! Still first course error in ages. Kate was in the same class and also jumped well though spooky and then had a stop at the liverpool at the last fence. It was my fault because I held her too much, I should have ridden up a bit more. Still she was clear other than that and I was happy.

When I arrived the next day I found the amateur class had been moved forward and into ring 1 which is really unfair to do changes the morning of. It would have been the spookiest track I jumped for an amateur all year. You can see in the pictures there was quite a lot of fill in the combinations. Connie jumped so so well and I stuffed up eh. On the corner to the treble I took a pull instead of just riding around the corner and I didn't get there and had a super awkward jump over the first fence and had to pull out of the combination. On the second approach she jumped through it so well and I was much better to the double. She was clear though apart from the stop and there were only six clears. Hiss! Poor Connie she is very forgiving of my mistakes.

Kate was super spooky again and I had lots of rails. Well three, all in the combinations. I haven't yet jumped her through a double with fill in the first and second elements and I was so worried about her landing in a stop that I sat up to early. This killed her back end so she dropped onto the rails. Still I finished the round and I wasn't that confident that I could. Like my mate said better to sit up early and have a rail than to have a stop/fall. A lady on the sideline said I should take her off of the grass to be less spooky and I was like she isn't on any grass. I then had an epiphany. I think it's the really nice quality oat chaff that I have switched her onto because she can't have Lucerne without getting skin problems over the Summer. So at the moment she is getting really boring food until I can get some peavine and clover chaff, but already she is less spooky. A bit dumb to not figure this was the issue for weeks but there you go.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nationals- home again

Unfortunately when you travel far away for something you always have to come home. The next morning we packed up early and went to Goldengrove stud and watched some really flash horses free jumping. This was chewing into our time though so my friend and I went to pick up her broodmare while the others stayed watching. It took ages to catch the mare and while my friend was hobbling the mares back legs (She is a kicker) Connie pinned her ears and the mare lashed out with the other back leg catching my mate in the face. Not Cool! I had to hobble the mare and then drive her massive truck while the pain killers kicked in and she got the swelling under control. She was ok but has a hell of a shiner. With all this drama we were late for checking into the ferry and the horses never got a break. Still the horses were parked on the deck so would get plenty of airflow.

Drinking bubbles with Scooby to celebrate Scooby's wake and leaving the south Island

On the trip back we decided (well mostly my friend who hadn't had a great show) that Scooby was a bad luck mascot and that we couldn't take the bad luck back to us with to the North Island (Though I think I have bad karma from this based on this weekend!) And that we would throw him from the boat. We brought bubbles for valentines day/ leaving the south/ Scooby's wake and they were delicious. These were followed up with margaritas until the sea got rough and I just lolled over my chair being queasy. I get terrible motion sickness. The proof of the roughness of the trip was the number of little nicks off of the horses heads poor babies.

The truck parked on the deck of the Ferry

We arrived at my mates place the about 11pm and the horses were so grateful to be in the boxes and stuffing their faces and having a big drink. I went home for milking and came and got my girls the next day but I'm told they had a huge play when they were turned out at midday. It was really good to be home.

Scooby says goodbye before he gets hiffed overboard.

So the shows that remain- Masterton A+P was this weekend, then Foxton next weekend, followed by Hawera the weekend after and then two weeks until HoY, though I may skip Hawera if they jump well at Foxton. Also Sprinklerbandit I want to say that yes I don't have a trainer and sometimes I have to warm-up myself and that but often (Especially if it's an important class) my friend will warm me up and she is a guru so she helps me a lot with sage advice and when I'm feeling chicken she makes me. I feel it's important to agknowledge how much help she gives me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nationals- The Jumping

I pinched this one of Connie in the amateur. I'm planning to buy it though. This is courtesy of Darren Moore Photography.

I don't have any pictures as of yet but I'm hoping I will be able to get some from the pro photographer once I find out who it was of course. (I found them and now will purchase them!) Haha some are quite hilarious with the whole liverpool/ Kate hates them thing. Connie looks beautiful of course.

Anyways the first class was the amateur and it was a big un and I froze up like a stupid head. Had an awesome warm up and she felt really good but I got out there and just had no canter. I ended up retiring after a few stops which were intermingled by some fantastic jumps when I actually got there and, you know, rode! He next class was the first round of the 3 day 1.1m horse championship class. She was heaps better because I really focused on getting her going, not taking a pull on the corners and just ridng around them, and I had good rides to all three of the doubles (Thats a lot of doubles for one round!) It was a Table C so rails added 4 seconds to your time. Connie and I aren't the quickest and with our rail we ended up 33rd of 56. Her knee was really swollen but she was sound as a bell and I was that angry with her behaviour and after travelling so far I thought it was worth the risk. She got a nice back on track knee boot now for it anyway.

Kate had the 1m that first day after our debacle at Levin where we didn't actually finish a round. She had one stop at a oxer with fill after a pretty poor ride to it from me, (Don't throw the reins and chase to a bad spot, maintain the rhythm and the contact to keep the horse relaxed and confident, trust me it's the better option) Then straight out to the 1.10m over the exact same course and I rode her much better and she jumped better and we ended up third. Woo!In the photos I have too much contact with her face in the air but by the last day I'm looking a lot more confident haha! Trust is so hard to build and so easy to lose.

The next day Connie had the second day of the 1.10 Championship. It was run in reverse order of place so I was a ways down the list. It was walking the course that I learned that it was actually the 1.10m-1.20m horse championship and the only really 1.20m oxer was the first element into the first treble Connie has ever jumped in Competition. I was absolutely packing myself. But Connie actually jumped super super awesome. She had two rails when she shut down behind over the liverpool oxer and the last element of the treble but she jumped in so well and confident and all round jumped well that I was just rapt with her. Then the whole lot went through again over a shortened round. Connie had one rail in that when I got her a shocking spot but she jumped so well I couldn't be cross with her.

Kate had a ring 3 1.10m class and she jumped well though quite strong. She just had a lazy rail and overall I was happy. There had been plenty of carnage in the 1.10m championship that day so I was hoping I might sneak into the top 20 but alas it was not to be I stayed in slot 33. Having not made the top 20 I decided to scratch Connie the next day and it was Kate whom came out on the Sunday in the non- champinoship 1.10m in ring 2. The reason I mention the rings- ring 3 not much fill and what there was wasn't that spooky/small for the height/ uncomplicated course. Ring 2 was the complete opposite. I wasn't actually convinced I would get Kate around it after our Levin debacle. Luckily I was wrong and despite being a bit hairy Kate was clear and jumped really well and after a different name being called, I was called in 5th.

Now when I went to pick up my prize money they said I hadn't been fifth. The sheets they showed me had her time 6 seconds slower than the rider who was fifth. This can't be true though because my jump-off was quick and I took hardly any pulls. Certainly not 6s slower. I would love to have seen the other set of sheets, because they wouldn't have called me in at all on that time. So i have my ribbon and I'm a bit sad that now I don't know what I was but hey she still jumped well. That being said I was glad my show was over and I could relax.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nationals- here we come

In the truck- Kate in the foreground and Connie next to her

At 11am on Wednesday night, we woke our horses and loaded up for the epic trip to the South Island. We ended up parked at the dock for quite a while but set sail at 2.25am on Thursday. I ended up sleeping for that crossing on the ground between a row of chairs. I can sleep anywhere so it wasn't so bad but I know the others battled a bit more. Still I woke up very cold and a bit stiff and I was glad to get back into the truck. McD's for breakfast- treating our bodies like the athletes we are-before heading on to Blenheim. Apparently getting straight on the road after being on the boat helps the horses recover from their sea legs. They all unloaded at the racecourse feeling hale and hearty, Connie especially was full of beans. Kate happily stuffed her face and the horses had a full hour of walking around and grazing before we continued on for Christchurch, a trip of about 4 hours I guess? I was very asleep for the prettiest part of the trip to be honest.

Restng at Blenhiem Racecourse at 6am.

So we got well lost in Christchurch but eventually found where we needed to be, though the tank on the truck was well below E so how we did, I actually have no idea. I had a very good elegant moment when I went to get out of the cab of the truck and caught my toe, falling all the way to the ground and landing on my hands and knees. Not cool! Unloading and setting up is one of the worst jobs of the show (Almost as bad as packing up) but it was soon done and I took Connie for a wee ride and she was very very hot to ride. I left her tied in her yard and rode Kate. I had a good ride on Kate, though Connie in this time had dug a pretty big hole. I wasn't until I was washing Kate that Connie really threw her toys out of the cot. She was digging frantically and trying to crawl out under the fence. Then she tried to jump and got her leg hung up. At this point I went and rescued her. She hadn't taken much skin off but in the morning she would have a fat knee. Suddenly the option of sending her to Gore for slaughter at $1.80 a pound was looking really appealing. She was like a little kid that gets over tired and just absolutely loses it.

Scooby Doo the trip mascot

Still I finally got everything done, my gear cleaned and my horses fed and feel into bed for a very very deep sleep before the days competing the next day. We really should have come down earlier but it was such a last minute adventure as it was. The weather in Christchurch was weird too, one minute your in a singlet and the next you are in a jacket. Very hard to keep up with.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

D Day

I'm so sorry to those people that read this blog. I had really good intentions of writing some interesting posts about various aspects of my beloved sport such as rider weight in showjumping and some other stuff, but life wont stop coming at me too fast lately and I'm slightly overwhelmed.

In two hours we are set off for the ferry and really the whole thing is ridiculous. It's going to work a lot more expensive than if I had just gone to taihape, but then what price do you put on a new adventure? I'm worried the horses wont sail well and that thetrip is going to take too much out of them. They were both absolute headcases to ride today which doesn't make me more positive, though Connie does jump cleaner when she is feeling a bit mad. Still copious amounts of mycotoxin binder went into teir feds tonight so that should make them a bit saner.

It's the final run down now to the end of the season. It's Nationals, Masterton A+P, Foxton, Series finals at Taranaki and then HoY. No time at all really and it's all over for another season. I have ambitiously entered 1.25m classes at HoY but in all liklihood I'll downgrade these. It's just a lot easier to pay the money now rather than later. I am basically flat broke. These last entries have wiped me ot. HoY was ridicuously expensive and was nearly a fortnights wages which had me weeping into my cornflakes, but it's HoY and I really want to go.

Better go try and grab a few hours sleep before we leave, because the seas is rough I will probably spend te next three hours throwing up. Wish me luck :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cruising on the Interislander

Another adventure is planned! Next Thursday at 2.25am (Blerg!) Connie, Kate and I plus some other horses and two other people are going to cross to the mainland of New Zealand and head to Christchurch for Nationals. The boat we will be on is the Arahura which is pictured above. The horses travel across in the truck in the vehicle part of the ship. Still it's pretty exciting stuff. New crowd, new venue etc.

Kate does the mighty metre the first day and then 1.10ms. Connie is in the amateur first up (Worth double series points at nationals but thats dreaming really) and then does the three day 1.10m championship. It wasn't worth throwing her in the 1.20m champs with it costing $188. I'm quite nervous about the amount of preparation, but Kate is starting to feel stronger and doesn't have a very busy show so fingers crossed it works out.